A SERIES OF ORIGINAL PAPERS, EMBRACING PHILOSOPHY, SCIENCE, GOVERNMENT,
RELIGION, POETRY, ART, FICTION, SATIRE, HUMOR, NARRATIVE, AND PROPHECY.
BY THE SPIRITS OF IRVING, WILLIS, THACKERAY, BRONTE, RICHTER, BYRON,
HUMBOLDT, HAWTHORNE, WESLEY, BROWNING, AND OTHERS NOW DWELLING IN THE
DICTATED THROUGH A CLAIRVOYANT, WHILE IN AN ABNORMAL OR TRANCE STATE.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
HENRY J. RAYMOND To the New York Public
MARGARET FULLER Literature in Spirit Life
LORD BYRON To His Accusers
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE Apparitions
WASHINGTON IRVING Visit to Henry Clay
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE To The French Nation
W. M. THACKERAY His Post Mortem Experience
ARCHBISHOP HUGHES Two Natural Religions
EDGAR A. POE The Lost Soul
JEAN PAUL RICHTER Invisible Influences
CHARLOTTE BRONTE Agnes Reef. A Tale
ELIZABETH B. BROWNING To Her Husband
ARTEMUS WARD In and Out of Purgatory
LADY BLESSINGTON Distinguished Women
PROFESSOR OLMSTEAD Locality of the Spirit World
ADAH ISAACS MENKEN Hold Me Not
N. P. WILLIS Off-Hand Sketches
MARGARET FULLER City of Spring Garden
GILBERT STUART Art Conversation
EDWARD EVERETT Government
FREDERIKA BREMER Flight to my Starry Home
REV. LYMAN BEECHER The Sabbath—Its Uses
PROF. GEORGE BUSH Life and Marriage in Spirit Life
JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH Acting by Spirit Influence
REV. JOHN WESLEY Church of Christ
N. P. WILLIS A Spirit Revisiting Earth
ALLAN CUNNINGHAM Alone
BARON VON HUMBOLDT The Earthquake
SIR DAVID BREWSTER Naturalness of Spirit Life
H. T. BUCKLE Mormons
W. E. BURTON Drama in Spirit Life
CHAS. L. ELLIOTT Painting in Spirit Life
COMEDIAN'S POETRY Rollicking Song
LADY HESTER STANHOPE Prophecy
PROFESSOR MITCHELL The Planets
DR. JOHN W. FRANCIS Causes of Disease and Insanity
ADELAIDE PROCTER The Spirit Bride
BY THE EDITOR.
In placing before the public a work with such novel and extraordinary
demands upon its consideration, a few explanatory words seem appropriate.
Its title and contents will doubtless at first sight cause a smile of
incredulity, and will be regarded by many as one of the devices which are
sometimes put forward to entrap an unsuspecting public into the perusal
of a sensational hoax.
For a number of years past the community has been surprised with accounts
of most incredible marvels; and from time to time the press has reported
various phenomena in connection with an unrecognized force and
intelligence, as occurring in almost every locality throughout the
These phenomena are thought by many to be mere illusions, and by some
attributed to peculiar electrical conditions; while others seek their
solution in an abnormal state of the brain; and others still believe them
dependent on an actual intercourse between mortals and those who have
passed beyond the grave.
Having become interested in this mysterious and exciting subject, and
finding the means at hand for testing the various phenomena, I resolved
to undertake a series of experiments, with the hope of exposing a
delusion, if such it were, or perchance, of clearing up a mystery which,
by the magnitude and importance it has already assumed, is disturbing the
foundations of old beliefs and steadily diffusing it's theories and
doctrines into the very heart of society.
Among other expedients to attain this end (assuming the hypothesis that
spirits of the departed were in a condition to communicate with mortals),
I interrogated, through the instrumentality of a clairvoyant gifted with
the remarkable power of passing at will into an unconscious or trance
state, the spirits of a number of well-known individuals concerning their
views and sentiments in their present state of existence.
In response to my questions, an intelligent answer was received from the
Countess Ossoli (Margaret Fuller), with the assurance that my desire was
apprehended and would receive the hearty co-operation of those to whom it
The process by which the papers were given was that of dictation through
the clairvoyant while in an abnormal or trance condition and with her
eyes closed. The matter was written in pencil as it fell from her lips,
and subsequently transcribed for the press.
The difficulties attending the transmission of ideas through the medium
of another mind, even under ordinary circumstances, must be apparent to
all, and the unprejudiced reader may readily perceive obstacles to the
literal reproduction of their respective styles and language by the
Yet, notwithstanding the impediments to felicity of expression, I feel
assured that persons at all familiar with the characteristics of the
originals will readily perceive a marked resemblance in style to that of
the authors named.
In the delivery of the articles, their composers would usually assume or
personate their own individual characteristics; thus, Artemus Ward's
conversation and gestures were exceedingly ludicrous. He was the very
personification of mirth, occasionally going to the wall and humorously
"chalking out" his designs. Archbishop Hughes expressed himself in a
quiet, earnest, and eloquent manner. Lady Blessington was full of
vivacity, and Margaret Fuller was our Presiding Angel; while Booth would
become vehement to an intense degree, and at times would mount some
article of furniture in the room, becoming passionately eloquent, as if
again upon the "mimic stage of life."
An intelligent public will perceive the mental effort incident upon the
production of a series of articles so unusually varied; embracing the
distinctive qualities of Philosophy, Science, Religion, Political
Economy, Government, Satire, Humor, Poetry, Fiction, Narrative, Art,
Astronomy, etc., etc.; and the query has fitly been advanced,—what mind,
in the exercise of its normal functions,—has furnished a consecutive
number of essays so surprising in novelty, so diverse in sentiment, so
consistent in treatment, and so forcibly original, as those embraced in
this volume? What intellect so versatile as to reproduce in song and
narrative the characteristic styles of so many, and yet so dissimilar
In designating the locality of the Second Life, frequent repetition of
certain terms, such as spirit world, etc., were unavoidable. For weeks
and months the unseen visitors were punctual to their appointments, and
this novel mode of book-making proceeded steadily in interest and variety
until the volume was completed.
The work is now inscribed to a discriminating public, with a lively
confidence that the advanced intelligence and freedom of the age will
yield it an ingenuous reception.
HENRY J. HORN.
NEW YORK, October 1st, 1869.